In most ways, the Lumia 720 is exactly what you would expect. It’s a budget phone made like a Lumia. The surprise is that the camera is actually pretty damn good — which is a miracle compared to what you find on most cheap phones.
It’s comfortable to hold like any other Lumia, and it has the same rounded edges and overall shape of the Lumia 820. The Lumia 720’s body is a matte polycarbonate, and it feels so good that casual users may be even be tempted to grab this instead of the Lumia 820. Loading apps and navigating around the OS still feels quick — Windows Phone has never been the most demanding OS — but you’ll feel some delay loading larger apps.
But then the camera. For 6.7 megapixels on a €250 phone ($320), it’s pretty impressive. Below, we have a few comparison shots of it against my HTC 8X (we couldn’t get images off the phone, so apologies for the ad hoc photos), which doesn’t have the best camera, but it’s well above what you’d expect to find in a budget phone.
The 720’s camera is tuned to work best with flash: research went into its development, and the result is a softer flash that retains original colour without washing out photos. You can see better colour performance in the flash photos, though the side effect of getting those nicer-looking colours is that the flash isn’t quite as powerful, so it loses some details to darkness on occasion.
For flashless low light (third image), it’s a good deal better than the HTC 8X, but grainier than you’d get on the Lumia 920. Still, the room we were shooting in was really, really dark, and the Lumia 720 did a better job than you might expect.